Anti FATCA fighters lobby US congress for repeal

Published:  30 May at 6 PM
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US expats across the world will be keeping their fingers tightly crossed as a 23-group coalition lobbies Congress to repeal the despised law.

Originally approved by President Obama in an effort to shut the door to US expat tax avoiders, FATCA is now a painful thorn in the sides of millions of US citizens living overseas. Admittedly, more than 10 billion dollars-worth of lost tax has been clawed back from over 100,000 taxpayers, but American expats overseas have been shut out of bank accounts and forced to spend hours of extra time ensuring they get it right and avoid the swinging fines for even unintended mistakes.

During the run up to last year’s presidential election, the Republican party pledged to scrap the unpopular law should they win, but little on the subject has emerged to date, either from Congress or from new president Donald Trump. Tired of waiting, the anti-FATCA coalition has now written to both congressmen and key senators in the hope their presentation will jog memories of the promise.

Their message states both the effects of the law and the burden of FATCA on innocent USA citizens overseas, beginning with the fact the law has failed to target wealthy tax avoiders using the time-honoured strategy of moving their assets and money overseas. Millions of US taxpayers, it continues, have been trapped into complicated reporting rules and unfairly large penalties, and the law has resulted in foreign financial companies refusing to do business with US expats.

The coalition claims the IRS spends far more recovering monies via FATCA than it does on any other laws relating to unpaid tax, and overseas countries are being encouraged to hit on US companies using ‘tax grabs’. The heart of the matter, according to the coalition, is that FATCA actually violates the principles of national sovereignty, personal privacy, due process and presumption of innocence. Measures that punish the innocent whilst being intended to target the guilty are, it adds, un-American and unacceptable.
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